Twelve months ago, when the car giant announced a larger round of redundancies amounting to 800 roles, a self-proclaimed Honda Task Force united to minimise the impact to Swindon people.
The Task Force has now reformed in light of Honda’s announcement on Tuesday to cut back 340 permanent and 160 temporary roles amongst the Swindon plant’s production associates.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “The key for that is making sure government agencies, such as the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and Jobcentre Plus are prepared to repeat the efforts they put in to last year’s Task Force,” he said.
“Last year, of the 800 redundancies announced, only 34 were forced to leave on compulsory terms, which shows the Task Force’s effectiveness. We will press ahead with that this week.”
The coalition will consist of both Swindon MPs, Forward Swindon, DWP, Swindon College, Swindon Council, Skills Funding Agency, Business West, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Honda.
In April last year, a jobs fair was held at Stanton House in Stanton Fitzwarren, where 750 people were invited to meet a variety of employers offering some 2,000 vacancies, including manufacturing positions at Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Network Rail.
“I have heard interviews with people who used the Task Force last year and people have said how good the jobs fair was,” said Mr Tomlinson.
“The Task Force organises the jobs fair, where a huge choice of people go along with a whole range of jobs available for Honda workers to start now.
“The message wasn’t ‘there might be a job available at some point’ it was ‘we need you and we need you now.’ “Honda staff are highly skilled, highly trained, and well-suited to a range of other positions, but their skills don’t necessarily stand out on their CVs.
“The Task Force will be working with Swindon College, who can help to formalise their skills.
“Many of the workers have worked on the production lines but never had a formal qualification for it.”
A spokeswoman for Forward Swindon said: “The Swindon Task Force has been convened by Forward Swindon this week to co-ordinate the design and delivery of actions to mitigate the personal and economic impacts of the recently announced job losses in Swindon, namely from Honda and Alcatel Lucent.
“The Swindon Task Force will set up a call to action shortly where businesses with vacancies can contact us directly, using a bespoke telephone number and an online contact form.”